PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB System Review

It has been a while since we looked at a prebuilt system designed for the enthusiast gamer who has little time, or interest in building a new kick ass system. With this in mind PC Specialist sent over their Vortex XT-270FB system which on paper looks very impressive. Is a liquid cooled overclocked Core i7 2700k @ 4.8ghz with 120GB Solid State drive and an AMD HD7970 enough to get the gaming juices flowing?

PC Specialist Ltd are a company who were established in 2003 and in the last couple of years have became one of the largest T2 custom PC and notebook manufacturers in the United Kingdom.
But what happens six months down the line if you want to upgrade the system? Many PC builders won’t cover any user upgrades, but PC Specialist allow the user to upgrade and modify the system (within reason) without invalidating their warranty, they even offer ‘one on one’ advice and phone support to ensure the process goes smoothly.


PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB
Processor Intel Core i7-2700k @ 4.8GHz
Motherboard ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3
Memory 8GB Kingston Hyper-X 1600MHz
Graphics Card 3GB AMD Radeon HD7970
SSD/HDD 120GB Kingston Hyper-X SSD
1TB WD Caviar Black 6Gb/s HDD
DVD/Blu ray 24x DVD-RW
CPU Cooler CooliT ECO II FatBoy + Arctic Cooling MX4 Paste
Case CoolerMaster HAF-932 Case
Operating System Windows Home Premium 64bit
Monitor N/A
Keyboard & Mouse N/A
Speakers N/A
Warranty 3 Year Silver Warranty
Price ex VAT £1,249.17
Price Inc VAT £1,499.00

It is vitally important that a pre built enthusiast grade system is shipped securely to the customer, otherwise you will be picking out broken components from the box. The PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB arrives in a gargantuan, back breaking box which could house a small family.

Inside, there is a thin box on top of the system, which contains the peripherals. PC Specialist have included all the extra cables, manuals and driver discs. They also include a handy, well written reference manual for an inexperienced user which explains some of the technology and basic workarounds in case of problems.


The case is protected between two thick pieces of foam, and it is encased with a plastic cover to prevent marks during shipping. We will have a look at the shipping protection inside the case on the coming pages.

PC Specialist have a guidance leaflet attached to the side panel. This is to ensure that the end user doesn’t quickly power up the system without removing the protective foam from inside the case.

The Cooler Master HAF 932 has been a big seller in enthusiast circles as it combines attractive styling with a very high level of airflow, ideal for an overclocked system such as this.


We haven’t looked at this case in some time, so a quick recap is in order. The front panel is well designed with plenty of air intake positions. Along the top is the primary I/O panel which features four USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, a firewire port and a headphone and microphone jack. There is a power and HDD activity light at the far right. Along the top is a power and reset button.
The main I/O panel is complimented with a center mounted bay featuring two USB 3.0 ports.


Visible through the mesh on the side panel is the internal ‘Instapak’ packing which PC Specialist have included in the Cooler Master chassis to secure the components. When the side panel is unscrewed, this can be removed and stored for future use. The large side mounted fan has to be connected to a fan header on the motherboard before being resealed. We really like this material as it leaves no mess and can be ‘sculpted’ by hand for a perfect fit.

After removing both side panels we can ascertain the capabilities of the PC Specialist system builders. I was pleasantly surprised with the clean, well routed interior. They have routed the power supply cables carefully behind the motherboard tray, out of sight. If they had opted for the modular version of the Corsair power supply they could have removed some of the cables however. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning.


PC Specialist have taken advantage of the spacious routing holes cut into the chassis in various positions, it is one of the cleanest builds we have seen. There are two drives installed in the front of the case – a 2.5 inch 120GB Kingston Hyper-X Solid State Drive and a large 3.5 inch 1TB WD Caviar Black HDD, for storage. They have positioned the two drives in the first and third bay, ensuring the heat from the mechanical drive isn’t too close to the solid state drive, above it.

They are using the non modular version of the excellent Corsair TX750 power supply, which won our highest award when we reviewed it last year.


PC Specialist are using Kingston Hyper-X 1600MHz memory, complete with attractive blue metallic heatspreaders. The Coolit ECO II FatBoy has been rear mounted in an exhaust position as shown in the images above, this is a very capable, low noise liquid cooler, ideal for the overclocked Core i7 2700k. PC Specialist say they are using Arctic Cooling MX4, a very high quality thermal paste.
The Cooler Master HAF 932 has another large fan mounted in an exhaust position at the top of the chassis.

The graphics card in this system is an AMD HD7970. To be more accurate it is a Powercolor version of the latest high end solution but it adheres strictly to the AMD reference design. Aside from the company sticker it really doesn’t mean anything. Warranty will be direct with PC Specialist if anything goes wrong.
It is a shame PC Specialist didn’t opt for a Sapphire or XFX version of this card as they have a custom dual fan cooler which is much quieter than this reference design.
Some system builders we have worked with in the past don’t like images of their bios configurations detailed in a review as they claim a competitor can ‘steal them’, but we received no request from PC Specialist to hide the settings.

The Asus P8Z68V Gen 3 is a fully featured motherboard, built for overclocking. As I have said in previous reviews, I really do love their bios configurations. They are exceptionally intuitive to configure and rock solid in power hungry situations.

A general overview of the system on the main page.

The system was configured at 4,800mhz as described by PC Specialist.

PC Specialist have tweaked the power settings to allow for the heavily overclocked Vortex configuration. Phase control is set to extreme and Duty control is set to extreme with CPU current capability raised by 10% to 110%. CPU voltage is configured to 1.4 and CPU PLL voltage is also increased to 1.77500.

Most of the other bios settings are left as standard and there isn’t really a need to focus on them. We can see from the image above that the Kingston 120GB SSD is configured as the boot drive.

System validation at 4.8ghz is available here. We left the system running stress tests for several hours before we started the review, and it passed with flying colours.
On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit Kitguru.net as the owner/source.












Many of the pre-configured systems we review are supplied with a plethora of applications installed which really should be left in the hands of the end user. This is certainly not a concern with the PC Specialist Vortex as the company have only installed the bare minimum of drivers and software, including Nero 9 Essentials and a trial of Microsoft Office 2010.

Windows 7 Home Premium with Service Pack 1 is installed, and PC Specialist have customised the system overview to highlight customer support information. Handy in an emergency if the literature is misplaced.

The Windows Experience Index is a decent way to get a quick overview of how a system will perform. The Vortex XT-270FB scores 7.6 out of 7.9 points, being held back by the AMD HD7970. Never thought I would say that in a review!

CPUz gives a good overview of the system, highlighting the 4.8ghz overclock state with the Core i7 2700k. We have reviewed this processor before, it is a 32nm design, which runs at 3.5ghz in a default state. All ‘K’ series processors are completely unlocked and the 2700k is supported with an 8MB level 3 cache.
The Kingston HyperX memory runs at 1600mhz with timings of 9-9-9-27 @ 1T.

The HD7970 Tahiti core operates at 925mhz, and the 3GB of GDDR 5 memory runs at 1375mhz (5.5Gbps effective) which is connected via a 384 bit interface for over 264GB/sec of bandwidth. The card features 2,048 stream processors, is fully PCI E Gen3 compliant (up to 32 gb/s of data bandwidth) and incorporates new AMD Powertune and ZeroCore power technology. There are dual geometry engines, eight render back ends, 32 color ROPs per clock and 128 Z/stencil ROPs per clock.
To test the system today, we are using a mixture of synthetic and real world software as well as a series of games. We will also compare the results from the Vortex at the 4.8ghz overclocked state against the Core i7 2700k at default clock speeds.
As a matter of interest, we compare against some systems we have configured featuring various hardware. These are listed below.
Comparison Systems:
Intel Core i7 2700k System
Cooling: ThermalTake Frio OCK
Graphics: XFX HD6870 Black Edition x 2
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 Z68 Motherboard
Chassis: Silverstone Raven 3.
Power Supply: Corsair 850W.
Memory: Corsair 1600mhz memory
Storage: Intel 80GB SSD (boot) / Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD.
Monitor: Dell Ultrasharp U2410 Rev A00.
AMD FX 8150 Black Edition
Motherboard: Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7
Cooler: Noctua NH D14
Memory: G-SKill Ripjaws 1600mhz 8GB (2x 4GB)
Graphics Card: HIS HD6970 IceQ Mix
Power Supply: ADATA 1200W
Optical Drive: Asus BluRay Drive
Chassis: SilverStone Raven 3
Monitors: 3x Ilyama ProLite E2472HDD
Boot Drive: Intel 40GB SSD
Secondary Drive: Patriot 120GB WildFire
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1100T @ 3.3ghz
Motherboard: Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7
Cooler: Noctua NH D14
Memory: G-SKill Ripjaws 1600mhz 8GB (2x 4GB)
Graphics Card: HIS HD6970 IceQ Mix
Power Supply: ADATA 1200W
Optical Drive: Asus BluRay Drive
Chassis: SilverStone Raven 3
Boot Drive: Intel 40GB SSD
Secondary Drive: Patriot 120GB WildFire
Intel Core i7 2600k
Processor: Intel Core i7 2600k @ 3.4ghz
Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen 3
Cooler: Intel XTS-100H
Memory: ADATA 1600mhz DDR3 8GB (2x4GB)
Graphics Card: HIS HD6970 IceQ Mix
Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower 850W
Optical Drive: Asus BluRay Drive
Boot Drive: Intel 510 SSD 250GB
Intel Core i5 2500k
Processor: Intel Core i7 2500k @ 3.3ghz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 Z68 Motherboard
Cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2 CPU Cooler
Memory: Corsair 1600mhz memory 8GB (2x4GB)
Graphics Card: HIS HD6970 IceQ Mix
Power Supply: Corsair 850W.
Optical Drive: Asus BluRay Drive
Boot Drive: Patriot Pyro 120GB SSD.
Software:
3DMark 11
3DMark Vantage
PCMark 7
Cinebench 11.5 64 bit
FRAPS Professional
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark
HD Tach
Atto Disk Benchmark
Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra 11
Cyberlink MediaEspresso
Games:
HomeFront
Alien V Predator
Dead Island
Tom Clancy HAWX 2
Resident Evil 5
Lost Planet 2
Far Cry 2
F1 2011
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Technical Monitoring and Test Equipment:
Lacie 730 Monitor (Image Quality testing)
Dell U2410 Monitor
Thermal Diodes
Raytek Laser Temp Gun 3i LSRC/MT4 Mini Temp
Extech digital sound level meter & SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter
Nikon D3X with R1C1 Kit (4 flashes), Nikon 24-70MM lens.
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software.
Sandra is a (girl’s) name of Greek origin that means “defender”, “helper of mankind”. We think that’s quite fitting.
It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what’s really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.
Native ports for all major operating systems are available:
  • Windows XP, 2003/R2, Vista, 7, 2008/R2 (x86)
  • Windows XP, 2003/R2, Vista, 7, 2008/R2 (x64)
  • Windows 2003/R2, 2008/R2* (IA64)
  • Windows Mobile 5.x (ARM CE 5.01)
  • Windows Mobile 6.x (ARM CE 5.02)
All major technologies are supported and taken advantage of:
  • SMP – Multi-Processor
  • MC – Multi-Core
  • SMT/HT – Hyper-Threading
  • MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE 4.1, SSE 4.2, AVX, FMA – Multi-Media instructions
  • GPGPU, DirectX, OpenGL – Graphics
  • NUMA – Non-Uniform Memory Access
  • AMD64/EM64T/x64 – 64-bit extensions to x86
  • IA64 – Intel* Itanium 64-bit






The Vortex XT overclocked state means that the synthetic benchmark figures are a significant improvement when compared against the Core i7 2700k at default clock speeds.
PCMark 7 includes 7 PC tests for Windows 7, combining more than 25 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. Specifically designed to cover the full range of PC hardware from netbooks and tablets to notebooks and desktops, PCMark 7 offers complete PC performance testing for Windows 7 for home and business use.


The system scores very well in PCMark 7 thanks to the excellent processor performance, supported by the solid state drive.
CINEBENCH R11.5 64 Bit is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.
CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and Mac OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.


At 4.8ghz, the Core i7 2700k scores 9.41 points which places it above a reference clocked 6 core i7 990X. This machine is ideal for use as a full time 3D rendering station.
Futuremark released 3DMark Vantage, on April 28, 2008. It is a benchmark based upon DirectX 10, and therefore will only run under Windows Vista (Service Pack 1 is stated as a requirement) and Windows 7. This is the first edition where the feature-restricted, free of charge version could not be used any number of times. 1280×1024 resolution was used with performance settings.


The AMD HD7970 really sings in this system, scoring 33,678 points which is very impressive. The overall system averages out at 33,251 points, putting it in the top 5% of performance systems we have tested to date.
3DMark 11 is designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista the benchmark includes six all new benchmark tests that make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
After running the tests 3DMark gives your system a score with larger numbers indicating better performance. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.
If you want to learn more about this benchmark, or to buy it yourself, head over to this page.


AMD’s HD7970 is a powerhouse discrete solution and this system scores over 8,100 points, which used to be the hunting ground for a dual GPU based system.
HQV Benchmark 2.0 is an updated version of the original tool and it consists of various video clips and test patterns which are designed to evalute motion correction, de-interlacing, decoding, noise reduction, detail enhancement and film cadence detection.
There are two versions of the program, standard definition on DVD and high definition on Bluray. As our audience will be concentrating on HD content so will we.
This has a total of 39 video tests which is increased from 23 in the original and the scoring is also up from a total of 130 to 210. As hardware and software gets more complicated, the software has been tuned to make sure we can thoroughly maximise our analysis.
Read our initial analysis over here

PC Specialist Vortex
Dial
4
Dial with static pattern 5
Gray Bars 5
Violin 5
Stadium 2:2 5
Stadium 3:2 5
Horizontal Text Scroll 5
Vertical Text Scroll 5
Transition to 3:2 Lock 5
Transition to 2:2 Lock 0
2:2:2:4 24 FPS DVCAM Video
5
2:3:3:2 24 FPS DVCam Video
5
3:2:3:2:2 24 FOS Vari-Speed
5
5:5 FPS Animation
5
6:4 12 FPS Animation
5
8:7 8 FPS Animation
5
Interlace Chroma Problem (ICP)
5
Chroma Upsampling Error (CUE)
5
Random Noise: Sailboat
5
Random Noise: Flower
5
Random Noise: Sunrise
5
Random Noise: Harbour Night
5
Scrolling Text
5
Roller Coaster
5
Ferris Wheel
5
Bridge Traffic
5
Text Pattern/ Scrolling Text
5
Roller Coaster
5
Ferris Wheel
5
Bridge Traffic
5
Luminance Frequency Bands
5
Chrominance Frequency Bands
5
Vanishing Text 5
Resolution Enhancement
15
Theme Park
5
Driftwood 5
Ferris Wheel
5
Skin Tones
7
Total 196
A score of 196 points is class leading right now, the ideal solution for high definition media playback.
The PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB system uses a combination of 120GB SSD as the boot drive and a 1TB mechanical drive for storage. This is a perfect way to set up a gaming system in this price sector.

This Kingston Hyper X SSD isn’t the fastest drive on the market, but it offers solid all round performance, averaging around 270 MB with both sequential read and write tests. 4K performance is very strong.

Both 120GB SSD and 1TB Western Digital results via the Physical Disk benchmark in SiSoft Sandra.
The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

The results from ATTO mirror those in the other benchmark programs, showing peak speeds around 280 MB/s.
Fritz is a German chess program developed by Frans Morsch and Mathias Feist and published by ChessBase.

With such a high overclock, the Core i7 2700k scores over 21,000 points, while the reference clock speeds average around 14,000 points.
V2011 is the first release of 3DStudio Max to fully support the Windows 7 operating system. This is a professional level tool that many people use for work purposes and our test will show any possible differences between board design today.
Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2011 software offers compelling new techniques to help bring designs to life by aggregating data, iterating ideas, and presenting the results.
Streamlined, more intelligent data exchange workflows and innovative new modeling and visualization tools help significantly increase designers’ creativity and productivity, enabling them to better explore, validate, and communicate the stories behind their designs.
Major new features:
  • Slate: A node based material editor.
  • Quicksilver: Hardware renderer with multithreaded rendering engine that utilizes both CPU and GPU.
  • Extended Graphite Modeling Toolset
  • 3ds Max Composite: A HDRI-capable compositor based on Autodesk Toxik.
  • Viewport Canvas toolset for 3D and 2D texture painting directly in the viewport
  • Object Painting: use 3D geometry as ‘brushes’ on other geometry
  • Character Animation Toolkit (CAT): now integrated as part of the base package
  • Autodesk Material Library: Over 1200 new photometrically accurate shaders
  • Additional file format support: includes native support for Sketchup, Inventor
  • FBX file linking
  • Save to Previous Release (2010)
We created a new 8200×3200 scene and recorded the time for the hardware to finalise the render.

These results mirror our findings with Cinebench earlier in the review. With the 2700k running just shy of 5ghz, the time taken to render the scene is reduced by 35 seconds. In a professional environment, this would save many hours of rendering time, every day.
Handbrake is a fantastic free program which we wanted to include to confirm findings with Media Espresso, earlier in the review. HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.
We used the latest V 0.9.5 for testing today across all platforms. We encoded an DVD.MPG file.

Noticeable savings by using the Vortex system, over 30 seconds faster than the reference clocked solution.
CyberLink MediaEspresso 6 is the successor to CyberLink MediaShow Espresso 5.5. With its further optimized CPU/GPU-acceleration, MediaEspresso is an even faster way to convert not only your video but also your music and image files between a wide range of popular formats.
Now you can easily playback and display your favourite movies, songs and photos not just on your mobile phone, iPad, PSP, Xbox, or Youtube and Facebook channels but also on the newly launched iPhone 4. Compile, convert and enjoy images and songs on any of your computing devices and enhance your videos with CyberLink’s built-in TrueTheater Technology.
New and Improved Features
  • Ultra Fast Media Conversion – With support from the Intel Core i-Series processor family, ATI Stream & NVIDIA CUDA, MediaEspresso’s Batch-Conversion function enables multiple files to be transcoded simultaneously.
  • Smart Detect Technology – MediaEspresso 6 automatically detects the type of portable device connected to the PC and selects the best multimedia profile to begin the conversion without the need for user’s intervention.
  • Direct Sync to Portable Devices – Video, audio and image files can be transferred in a few easy steps to mobile phones including those from Acer, BlackBerry, HTC, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and Palm, as well as Sony Walkman and PSP devices.
  • Enhanced Video Quality – CyberLink TrueTheater Denoise and Lighting enables the enhancement of video quality through optical noise filters and automatic brightness adjustment.
  • Video, Music and Image File Conversion – Convert not only videos to popular formats such as AVI, MPEG, MKV, H.264/AVC, and FLV at the click of a button, but also images such as JPEG and PNG and music files like WMA, MP3 and M4A.
  • Online Sharing – Conversion to video formats used by popular social networking websites and a direct upload feature means posting videos to Facebook and YouTube has never been easier.
For our testing today we are converting a 3.3GB 720p MKV file (2h:12mins) to Apple Mp4 format for playback on a portable device. This is a common procedure for many people and will give a good indication of system power. We are using the newest version which has been optimised for Sandybridge processors.
Graphics acceleration is disabled to measure pure processor performance.


This test is a great indication of when overclocking can really help create a more productive environment. The PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB is around two and a half minutes faster than a reference clocked Intel 2700k system.
F1 2011 is the newest Direct X 11 racing game from industry pioneers CodeMasters. The 2011 Formula One season is the 62nd FIA Formula One season. The original calendar consisted of twenty rounds, including the inaugural running of the Indian Grand Prix before the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Pirelli returns to the sport as tyre supplier for all teams, taking over from Bridgestone. Red Bull Racing are the reigning Constructor’s Champions. Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel is the defending Drivers’ Champion, one of five World Champions appearing on the grid.


Fantastic performance at these settings, averaging 76 frames per second with all the image quality settings cranked to the limit.
Homefront’s PC version was developed by Digital Extremes, a Canadian developer responsible for numerous Unreal Tournament games and Bioshock ports. It received mixed reports, although Kitguru really likes the single player aspect of this title. The engine isn’t the most demanding on the market, but it requires decent partnering hardware for solid frame rates at 1080p.


I really enjoyed playing Homefront when it was released and it still looks great today. The PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB maintains very smooth frame rates throughout, never dropping below 50.
Aliens V Predator has proved to be a big seller since the release and Sega have taken the franchise into new territory after taking it from Sierra. AVP is a Direct X 11 supported title and delivers not only advanced shadow rendering but high quality tessellation for the cards on test today.
To test the cards we used a 1080p resolution with DX11, Texture Quality Very High, MSAA Samples 1, 16 af, ambient occulsion on, shadow complexity high, motion blur on. We use this with most of our graphics card testing so cards are comparable throughout reviews.

An intensive Direct X 11 game, demanding a lot from the partnering hardware. The PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB averages 95 frames per second, dropping to 60 frames per second in an intensive section of the test environment.
Dead Island is a first person horror action-adventure video game developed by Techland and published by Deep Silver for Microsoft Windows. It is centered on the challenge of survival on a zombie-infested open world island with a major emphasis on melee combat. It is rather good fun, for a short while, but it becomes repetitive.


Not the most taxing engine, and the PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB System has absolutely no problem powering through the game, averaging 172 frames per second.
Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. After the events of the first game, the H.A.W.X squadron is sent to Middle East, where a high level of violence is being registered, and the appearance of various insurgents leaders in various hotspots. The team also has to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Russian nuclear weapons. The player will be controlling three groups: one American (Hunter), one British (Munro) and one Russian (Sokov), each with its own pilots and supporting characters. There will also be references to other characters in the Tom Clancy universe.
We are testing in full DX11 mode with all settings to maximum.


AMD have improved the performance of this title with recent drivers although the Vortex has absolutely no problems with these settings, averaging almost 120 frames per second.
Resident Evil 5, known in Japan as Biohazard 5, is a survival horror third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on March 5, 2009 in Japan and on March 13, 2009 in North America and Europe for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A Windows version of the game was released on September 15, 2009 in North America, September 17 in Japan and September 18 in Europe. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.
Within its first three weeks of release, the game sold over 2 million units worldwide and became the best-selling game of the franchise in the United Kingdom. As of December, 2009, Resident Evil 5 has sold 5.3 million copies worldwide since launch, becoming the best selling Resident Evil game ever made.


A great looking Direct X 10 game. At these settings there is no problem powering the engine averaging almost 160 frames per second.
Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. We don’t really enjoy playing this game, but the engine is a great Direct X 11 test of modern hardware.


A game that can bring lesser systems to their knees at these settings. The PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB has no such problems however, averaging 69 frames per second and more importantly maintaining a frame rate above 45 at all times.
Far Cry 2 (commonly abbreviated as “FC2 or “fc2″) is an open-ended first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released on October 21, 2008 in North America and on October 23, 2008 in Europe and Australia. It was made available on Steam on October 22, 2008. Crytek, the developers of the original game, were not involved in the development of Far Cry 2.
Ubisoft has marketed Far Cry 2 as the true sequel to Far Cry, though the sequel has very few noticeable similarities to the original game. Instead, it features completely new characters and setting, as well as a new style of gameplay that allows the player greater freedom to explore different African landscapes such as deserts, jungles, and savannas. The game takes place in a modern-day East African nation in a state of anarchy and civil war. The player takes control of a mercenary on a lengthy journey to locate and assassinate “The Jackal,” a notorious arms dealer.
Far Cry 2 is still a popular game and the open world environment can be taxing on even the latest hardware available today.
Settings: 1920×1080, D3D10, Disable Artificial Intelligence(No), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(8x), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Ultra High), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Ultra High), Terrain(Ultra High), Geometry(Ultra High), Post FX(High), Texture(Ultra High), Shadow(Ultra High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High).

Another intensive engine, however at these settings there are no problems maintaining smooth frame rates.
We have changed our method of measuring noise levels. We have built a system inside a Lian Li chassis with no case fans and have used a fanless cooler on our CPU. We are using a heatpipe based passive power supply and an Intel SSD to keep noise levels to a minimum. The motherboard is also passively cooled. This gives us a build with completely passive cooling and it means we can measure noise of just the graphics card inside the system when we run looped 3dMark tests. Ambient noise in the room is around 20-25dBa. We measure from a distance of around 1 meter from the closed chassis and 4 foot from the ground to mirror a real world situation.
Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on only the video card. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA - Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA - High Quality Computer fan
40dBA - A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA - Normal Conversation
60dBA - Laughter
70dBA - Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA - City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA - Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA - MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA - Orchestra
120dBA - Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA - Threshold of Pain
140dBA - Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA - Instant Perforation of eardrum

Under full load, the system is clearly audible, mainly due to the reference cooled AMD HD7970 which generates around 37 dBa. When gaming, the system measures around 34 dBa. It is far from silent, but the modest noise levels are expected for such a powerful overclocked performance oriented gaming system. When idling the noise drops to around 33 dBa.
The tests were performed in a controlled air conditioned room with temperatures maintained at a constant 23c – a comfortable environment for the majority of people reading this.
Idle temperatures were measured after 30 minutes of ‘resting’ in the Windows 7 environment. System temperatures were measured by running Furmark with Cinebench R11.5 64 bit in a loop for 30 minutes then recording the maximum temperatures during this time period.

We attached 5 diodes to the internal of the chassis.
1: next to the optical drive at the top of the case.
2
: Above the motherboard, between the CPU cooler and the top fan.
3: Above the 1TB hard drive.
4: above the memory close to the right side of the motherboard.
5:
above the power supply and below the graphics card.

The Cooler Master HAF case produces a high level of airflow which helps maintain very impressive temperatures across the range of components listed above.
We have never looked at a PC Specialist system before so we weren’t quite sure what to expect when the giant box rolled into our offices. First impressions are important, and the fact that the company have included all the accessories and manuals, including the motherboard literature is reassuring. They have even printed an extensive ‘welcome’ guide which details the technology and many steps which may prove useful to an inexperienced, or first time user.
The components inside the Vortex XT-270FB have been well researched and are a check list of award winning products. The Intel Core i7 2700k is one of the most cost effective high performance processors on the market, and when overclocked to 4.8ghz it really does sing, matching the much more expensive 6 core Core i7 990X at reference clock speeds.
The CooliT ECO II FatBoy handled the thermal output exceptionally well, maintaining temperatures below 70c, even when subject to intensive synthetic stress testing. It is also a reasonably quiet cooler which is a bonus.
AMD’s HD7970 is one of the fastest video cards you can buy, and we have reviewed many partner versions of this card in 2012. We see no current gaming situation that requires more pixel pushing power than this solution can deliver and it is particularly impressive with demanding Direct X 11 engines.
The Cooler Master HAF 932 case is a great foundation for this system, it looks great and produces an extremely high level of airflow for an overclocked system configuration such as this. System temperatures were maintained optimally throughout the chassis, very important when a processor is running at 4.8ghz.
Internally, the cable routing and attention to detail is clearly noticeable. All the cables are carefully routed to remain out of view when possible and the use of ‘Instapak’ foam protection ensures that nothing will move in transit. This review system arrived in perfect condition and fired up first time, without a hitch.
The bios settings can make or break a preoverclocked system and PC Specialist deserve a mention for correctly configuring all the voltage and timing parameters. It passed our stress testing before we started the review and we could see no settings that could be tweaked further to lower the temperatures or improve performance.
There are a few points we would like to make in regards to possible, future improvements. Firstly, the use of reference cooled AMD HD7970 means that the system is clearly audible under gaming load, even though the other components are quieter. This could have been improved by using a solution with an enhanced, two fan cooler, such as the excellent XFX HD7970 Double Dissipation, which we reviewed earlier this year.
Additionally, the use of modular power supply would help reduce the high volume of cables routed behind the motherboard tray. PC Specialist are using the excellent Corsair TX750 power supply, but there are quite a few unused cables which would make more sense stored in a box, rather than in the system.
Negatives aside we are extremely impressed with the Vortex XT-270FB System. PC Specialist clearly research the components they use and have a team capable of tweaking the bios to offer optimised, overclocked settings for people either unwilling or unable to experiment.

You can buy the system direct from PC Specialist for £1,499 inc vat over here.
Pros:
  • Quality components used throughout.
  • Bios settings are well configured for complete stability at 4.8ghz.
  • Good temperatures.
  • Price point is competitive.
Cons:
  • Quieter versions of the HD7970 available.
  • Modular power supply would have helped to reduce cabling.
බලු කුක්කා නම් කියන්නේ: A powerhouse gaming system, which can double up as a video encoding and 3D rendering rig.
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